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New Ambulatory Care Centre Open

A new ambulatory care centre opened this month at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital.  Ambulatory care is treating urgent conditions on a same day basis, without you being admitted to hospital.This is a consultant-led service provided alongside specialist nurse practitioners. Diagnostic scans may be available same day, and with medications dispensed straight from the ward, any potential delays for patients are minimised and treatments are received promptly.The ambulatory care centre is not a walk-in centre, instead patients are referred from the emergency department, their GP or other healthcare professional. The only exception to this is emergency gynaecology which patients can self-refer into. This centre will aim to treat patients on a ‘same day’ basis to prevent admission to hospital, allowing patients to receive the care they need as rapidly as possible before returning home.

If you’d like to know more about the ambulatory care centre please visit Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

External view of Berwick Infirmary

Northumbria Healthcare announces site of new Berwick hospital

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – in partnership with NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – today announced the £25million investment in a new stand-alone hospital for Berwick will be located on the site of the current Infirmary.

The decision comes after both organisations listened to, and reflected on, local views on previous proposals to develop a joint site with the Swan Centre for Leisure. Following this feedback, and a review of the alternative options, a conclusion has been reached to develop a new hospital on the existing site.

“We are delighted to be able to announce that the new hospital will be built on the site of the much loved (Berwick) Infirmary,” said Northumbria Healthcare CEO Sir James Mackey. “Following extensive joint public engagement, and a thorough review of all alternative sites, we believe this is the best option which also commands the support of both staff and the community – a factor which is very important to both the trust and the CCG. It is clear that the joint development was not what the town wanted. Instead, people demonstrated their support for a stand-alone hospital on the current site. Accordingly, we have listened, responded and worked together to come up with this plan as an alternative.”

Janet Guy, chair of Northumberland CCG agreed, saying: “This is great news for Berwick and we are delighted to see the project moving forward in a way that meets the needs of the local community. Patients are at the heart of our services and this decision is as a direct result of the feedback we have heard. We very much look forward to working with Northumbria Healthcare to provide a first class health facility for the people of Berwick. It’s very exciting and is brilliant news for both the NHS and the town.”

Both the trust and the CCG emphasised that the full £25million allocated for the project would be invested on the new hospital.

“It’s too early to have specific plans in place – though we are in preliminary talks with a number of possible developers – but we are working quickly to ensure we have plans to share as soon as possible,” continued Sir James.  “In particular we’ve listened to the local community’s concerns that they have to travel too far, too often, for relatively minor or routine appointments. As such, eradicating the need to travel for minor or routine appointments will be a driving force behind our plans and we will ensure we track and publish the number of miles patients have to travel on a yearly basis, with a clear aim to make significant reductions in this travel for patients.”

“The design will focus on flexibility, embracing new technology and, most importantly, ensuring outstanding care,” said Janet. “The emphasis will be on delivering as much as we safely can as close to patients as possible – including in primary care; the opportunities for which we are very excited about.”

The new hospital will represent the very latest in design and be ‘future proofed’; with all current services being retained and with a view to incorporating more where safe to do so.

“We fully expect that the new hospital will adapt and evolve over time – the NHS is ever-changing after all,” said Sir James. “I can confirm that all the services currently provided at the Infirmary will continue. In addition, I can also assure residents that we are looking very closely at what might safely be added – especially with the aid of new technology and ways of working – for instance, telemedicine. On a personal note, I would like to thank staff and the community for their patience and participation throughout this process. I know it’s been a long and sometimes frustrating road – a sentiment I share – but this is a big, positive step forward. Now we have a plan in place we are absolutely determined to get on with it. To that end, I very much look forward to working with the people of the town and surrounding area as we start work on the next phase.”

Lady on a bus

Do you need help getting to hospital?

Find out what support is available to help you travel to your hospital appointments.

If you visited hospital recently, how did you get there?

Most people drive, use public transport, or rely on the kindness of family and friends to get to their hospital appointments on time. But if you don’t have good access to transport it can mean missing out on health check-ups and routine screenings. It can be even harder if you need to attend regular appointments at a hospital for long-term conditions, such as chemotherapy treatment for cancer.

There are lots of reasons why you might not be able to get to hospital easily for a non-emergency appointment. For example, we often hear from people who are physically unable to travel, can’t afford transport, or live in a rural area.

What support is available?

If you need help getting to hospital, find out whether you’re eligible for NHS-funded support.

If you can’t travel because of your medical condition

Ask your GP or the person who referred you to hospital whether Patient Transport Services run in your area. These services provide free transport to and from hospital for:

  • People whose condition means they need additional medical support during their journey
  • People who find it difficult to walk
  • Parents or carers of children who are being transported

Need help finding support in your area?

To see what help is available where you live, get in touch with us and we can point you in the right direction: 03332 408468.

Graphic of a head

Mental Health Crisis and Emergency Care

Have you used the emergency care department at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital when you or the person you care for has experienced a mental health crisis? If so, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust would like to hear from you.
They hope to better understand what it feels like to be a patient attending emergency care in a crisis.

If you feel there is something to be learnt from your experience that may improve patient care, please get in touch with the Patient Experience Team – all feedback is welcome – good or bad, big or small, and will remain confidential.

Get in Touch

Contact Faye Gates, Senior Patient Experience Coordinator at: patient.experience@northumbria.nhs.uk or call: 0191 293 4360 or 0191 293 4326.

Northumbria Hospital

Accident and Emergency at The Northumbria

This month we’re working with Healthwatch North Tyneside to find out more about why people go to the A & E department at The Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital. We will have an information stand in the waiting room at various times over the next few weeks and will be asking patients to answer a few questions about their visit.

Healthwatch staff and volunteers will be asking people about their experiences of the A & E department and why they are choosing to use this service. The information given to us will remain anonymous. We will share a summary of the responses we receive with the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and use the information to help understand what is working well and what can be done differently.

Healthwatch staff talking to public

Berwick Listening Event – Our Response

Healthwatch Northumberland attended the drop-in session arranged by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHCT), Northumberland NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Northumberland County Council at The Swan Centre in Berwick on 27 September.

We had received feedback from local residents at a number of events earlier in 2018 and shared these with NHCT and the CCG.  At this event Healthwatch Northumberland wanted to hear local residents’ views of the proposals and the ways in which they had been involved in developing them. Healthwatch Northumberland proactively approached was approached by members of the public at the event.  The key themes reported were:

Development of New Hospital

The investment for the development of a new hospital was welcomed by everyone we spoke to. The variations between the proposals in 2014 and the current proposals, particularly but not exclusively, the number of beds were mentioned by most people. The ability to provide end of life care and post-operative recovery services were felt to be compromised by having 16 beds.  People reported that what was happening now is that patients and carers are travelling to other hospitals at great cost and inconvenience.Questions were asked about how the new hospital would cope with the increased population from new housing in the area.

Location

The current proposal was viewed negatively for the location. The Swan Centre site was felt to be too small to accommodate both an adequate hospital and leisure centre.  One respondent described the hospital plans as “a glorified clinic”.  There were concerns about access by public transport and parking and the loss of a children’s play area as a free public amenity.

Integrated service

There was no support voiced for an integrated health and leisure centre.  There were varied interpretations of what ‘integrated’ meant – either one building with one door, two buildings on the same site with or without coordination of services and referrals.  People were unable to say what benefits an integrated service would bring for them.

There was uncertainty that the space allocated for the Union Brae GP practice was adequate.

Services

The list of services to be offered at the new hospital raised several concerns mostly with the assertion that they represent the services currently offered and therefore there will be no reduction in the level and range of services.  One person described the list as “what is now is not what it was”.

There was questioning about why services were offered at Alnwick or other hospitals rather than Berwick.  People were not clear if there were clinical or organisational reasons.  There were reported experiences of this being the choice of specific doctors.

The service that was most often mentioned as being problematic was pre-assessments.  There was general concern that while this is listed as a service currently offered monthly at Berwick, in reality people have to travel to Alnwick.  As the appointments are short this was felt to be a huge impact for patients and carers in terms of time and cost.

The availability of outpatient appointments at Berwick was felt to be largely irrelevant as appointments at other hospitals were offered more quickly.  This was seen as patients in Berwick having no real choice, inconvenient and costly.  This was exacerbated by reported incidents of appointments at other hospitals being cancelled at short notice or when the patient had arrived or to find the appointment was not as anticipated – e.g. not a consultant appointment.

There was some acceptance that a full accident and emergency service would not be offered again.  People reported difficulties with the Minor Injuries Unit being unable to deal with their case through not having the necessary equipment or clinical staff or having to call an ambulance which was then delayed.  The reliability of the ambulance service in the Berwick area was mentioned as a factor in the confidence in a Minor Injuries service; one respondent said “if we don’t have an A&E we need a good ambulance service.”  Another person suggested between midnight and 8am there is a need for something “to see you through until the ambulance arrives”.

Specific concerns were made about the removal of audiology and ophthalmic services.  The removal of endoscopy equipment was especially keenly felt as the equipment had been purchased through acts of local philanthropy and fundraising.

Engagement

Concerns were made about the timing and process of involving local people in the development of the proposals.  The delay from 2014 and the changes between the two sets of proposals were noted and requests for the differences to be explained.

While the overall investment was welcomed, mention was made of what other options were considered and how the final services list had been determined.  One person commented “What else could the money buy?  We don’t know”.

Comments were made about the flow of information with many people saying they were not aware of the proposals until it was raised via Facebook.  When asked what communication methods they would like to see used for such developments suggestions included  ‘town hall’ style public meetings timed for evenings and weekends as well as during the day.  Advertising via local networks of voluntary and community organisations was mentioned and one resident said ‘Post Offices still work’ meaning a direct mail shot.

Language was also mentioned with a preference not to use phrases such as ‘integrated service’ and ‘engagement’ without explanations.

Suggestions received about the 27 September meeting included a presentation in addition to the information boards, as due to the numbers attending it was difficult to read and digest the information.  The wrap around section in the Berwick Advertiser was not viewed as helpful as it came out on the day of the session so did not help advertise the event or give people time to consider the information.  Overall people found the purpose of the session unclear as it followed an Overview and Scrutiny Committee where it was felt a decision had been made.

Conclusion

The feedback about Berwick Hospital proposal gathered by Healthwatch Northumberland on 27 September supports the feedback gathered from earlier engagement about the choice of bringing together health and leisure services.

The additional information about the process of engagement throughout the process suggests that people who attended the 27 September meeting felt that they would have liked more information on some key questions at an earlier stage of the process and via more diverse communication methods.

We would welcome the opportunity to reflect and discuss these points with NHCT and the CCG and how it will help to shape future engagement exercises in this and other situations.

We also attended the Union Brae Surgery Flu Clinic on 29 September and will pass on feedback received there in due course.

 

Berwick Hospital

Stand-alone hospital pledged for Berwick

Northumbria Healthcare today announced plans to construct a separate – stand-alone – hospital in Berwick as a replacement for the current Infirmary. The decision comes as a result of feedback from the public and Northumbria Healthcare public governors. It replaces previously announced plans for a joint development with Northumberland County Council on a single site at The Swan Centre.The following is a statement from Northumbria Healthcare website.Integrated working with partner agencies, such as the county council will proceed where appropriate but all the services will not be  co-located on a single site. Full details of the new plan are not yet available but intensive discussions are on-going with further announcements expected in the near future.Jim Mackey, chief executive at Northumbria Healthcare said: “When we announced plans for a joint – integrated – site it was our intention that Berwick has a new and modern hospital – this remains the case. Equally, we are fully committed to investing £25 million in the project. However, we are also committed to working with the community to make sure their particular concerns are addressed.

“Feedback from the public – and from our elected public governors – has been unequivocal on the question of co-location: they don’t want it. As such, we will now move forward with a separate site.”

Much of the feedback received from the public related to the provision of services at the proposed new Infirmary – with particular concern that there wasn’t enough on offer.

Jim Mackey responded:

“Service provision at Berwick is something we take very seriously and wherever possible we are committed to bringing care as close to home as possible. Following feedback from the community it’s clear we need to reflect on this further. For instance, we don’t want people travelling for routine – relatively simple – procedures like pre-operative assessments. Equally, wherever possible, we need to make much more of an effort to offer more appointments at Berwick Infirmary to local residents. In both cases, we accept we could and should have done more and are committed to doing so in future.”

The report of the work undertaken by Healthwatch Northumberland around this can be read here.

Berwick towin from the bridge

Berwick Hospital Drop-in Session

People are being invited to a drop-in session next Thursday 27 September, to give their views on plans for hospital and leisure development in Berwick.

Representatives from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland County Council will be at The Swan Centre from 10.00am to 12.00pm to listen to people’s views and answer any questions.

A spokesperson for the trust and council says: “We’re fully aware that some local people have concerns about co-locating a hospital and leisure centre on one site and we’d encourage residents to come along and talk to us about them so we can better understand how they feel.

“Ahead of the session we’d like to reassure people that the funding for the new hospital is secure as is the funding for the new leisure centre. We look forward to meeting people on the day.”

Visit the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust website for more information.

Berwick Hospital

New Berwick Hospital Plans Approved

Health leaders in Northumberland have approved plans for a new state-of-the-art hospital for Berwick. The move has been approved by the leadership of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group in their individual board meetings, which took place at the end of last month.

The development is being planned on the existing Swan Centre for Leisure site and will include upgraded leisure facilities.

This development of a new integrated health, social care and leisure facility requires further approval from Northumberland County Council and there will be further opportunities for the public to have their say.

View of Berwick town from the bridge

Berwick Hospital Proposals Engagement

As part of the consultation process, Healthwatch Northumberland was asked by NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group to hear from certain groups of people about the proposed sites and idea of a joint hospital and leisure centre in Berwick.

We spoke to 90 individuals through activity with a number of local voluntary groups and week long information stands set up in both Wooler and Berwick. People were shown maps of the proposed site locations and asked to choose a preferred location for the new hospital, and if they were in favour of a combined leisure centre and hospital.

Read the full report.

 

Events

View of Berwick town from the bridge

Public Drop-in Session for Berwick Hospital Plans

People are being invited to a drop-in session next Thursday, 27 September to give their views on plans for hospital and leisure development in Berwick.
Representatives from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland County Council will be at the The Swan Centre from 10am to 12pm to listen to people’s views and answer any questions.A spokesperson for the trust and council said: “We’re fully aware that some local people have concerns about co-locating a hospital and leisure centre on one site and we’d encourage residents to come along and talk to us about them so we can better understand how they feel.

“Ahead of the session we’d like to reassure people that the funding for the new hospital is secure as is the funding for the new leisure centre. We look forward to meeting people on the day.”

We will be there to listen to people’s reactions to what they see and hear on the day.

Public Meeting – Berwick Hospital Consultation

A public meeting is being held in Berwick to discuss people’s views on the possibility of a new integrated hospital development.

NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is working with partners at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland County Council to consider the possibility of the new hospital in Berwick being part of an integrated development including health, social care and leisure services.

The public meeting is being held as part of the ongoing listening exercise which was launched in February to give members of the public the chance to give their views about the potential new integrated development and about the different sites that are available.

The public are encouraged to come along and listen to the emerging themes and give their views on an integrated hospital development for Berwick and the surrounding area.

If you would like more information please contact Melody Price: 01670 335185 or email: melodyprice@nhs.net. You can also give your views by visiting NHS Northumberland CCG’s website at: www.northumberlandccg.nhs.uk or on twitter: @NHSNlandCCG or facebook: @northumberlandccg.

stick figure with crates of fruit

Morpeth Market Drop-in

We will be market stall holders on Wednesday 21 February, when we visit Morpeth Market to talk to local people about their health and social care experiences. Good or not so good, praise or concern, we want to hear your thoughts. You can also complete our annual survey which will help us discover what matters to you about the care you and your family receive from GPs, hospitals, dentists, mental health services, pharmacists, care homes and any other service you may use or need to use in the future. Pick up one of our pens, lip balms or stress balls if you’re quick!